Google has named the winners of its Android developer challenge. It’s handing out $275,000 to each of the 10 grand prize winners and $100,00 apiece to 10 second prize winners (full list here).
For most app developers, those prizes are likely to be the biggest payouts they ever get for their work. But if Google really wants to reward app developers, it can throw in yet another prize: Bundling their work in the intial set of apps the Android-powered handsets will feature. Think Brickbreaker on the Blackberry.
Here are our suggestions, culled from list of challenge finalists, for apps we’d like included with an Android-powered handset. We’re favouring useful over cool and quirky.
- Compare Everywhere (formerly called Scan) – Winner of a $275,000 prize: If you’re in a store and you want to buy a product, you can use this app to take a picture of the barcode, and the app will search the Web and show you the price of the item at other stores. You can then use GPS to find the nearest location of that other store and get your product for less.
- TuneWiki — $275,000 winner: This app is supposed to do a good job emulating the music player on the iPhone, but it also has cooler features — like showing you the lyrics of a song while you’re playing it. It can also use GPS to tell you who’s playing the same song as you nearby.
- Locale — $275,000 winner: Automatically changes your phone’s settings based on your location. For example, once you enter your office, the ringer could move to silent mode (great idea even for people who have to do this manually, by the way). You set up the locations in advance, and the app uses GPS to pinpoint when you are in a specific area. You can also specify times (put the phone on silent at 11 p.m., for example), and other triggers.
- PhoneBook 2.0 — $100,000 winner: Store your contacts in the cloud and use your phone book as a social network – get mood and status updates and share pictures with your friends. The cool thing about Android’s platform is that Google insists that it won’t favour any particular app, whether it’s something Google made, something a big developer created, or the product of a mum and pop shop. So even things like the phone dialer or the home screen can be discarded and replaced with third-party creations. So in this case, you could get rid of the phone’s existing contact list, and replace it with this one, which is more robust and secure.
- The Weather Channel — $25,000 winner: Get weather alerts, look at interactive maps – basically everything weather-related you would need on your phone.